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British screen icon and ‘Harry Potter’ star Leslie Phillips dies aged 98

Phillips was known for his roles in the 'Carry On' franchise and the voice of the sorting hat in 'Harry Potter'

By Nick Reilly

Leslie Phillips (Picture: Alamy)

Leslie Phillips, the screen veteran best known for his roles in the Carry On franchise and the voice of the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter, has died at the age of 98.

The actor’s passing was confirmed by his wife Zara, who hailed Phillips as a “national treasure”.

Zara said, according to The Sun: “I’ve lost a wonderful husband and the public has lost a truly great showman.

“He was quite simply a national treasure. People loved him. He was mobbed everywhere he went. When we married he cheekily introduced me to the Press as royalty, insisting I was the new Zara Phillips and that I was related to the Queen.”

The Tottenham-born star appeared in over 200 films, TV and radio series in a career that spanned more than eight decades.

Phillips was best known for his distinctive cut-glass British accent, with which he would deliver catchphrases such as “Ding Dong”, “Well, Hello” and “I Say”.

His death – nearly two years after Barbara Windsor passed away – means that Jim Dale, 86, is the last surviving regular star from the Carry On films.

To a modern audience, Phillips was best known as the voice of the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter – the talking wizard’s hat with the ability to sort Hogwarts students into their individual houses.

The Queen honoured Phillips with an OBE in 1998 and ten years later he was made a CBE for services to showbiz.

Paying tribute, writer David M Barnett said: “Farewell, then, Leslie Phillips, you dapper old cad RIP.”

Actor Stuart Anthony added: “The wonderful Leslie Phillips CBE has left us. Aged 98. A true gentleman, fantastic actor and the nicest man I’ve ever met. His stories were the best.. RIP Leslie Phillips.”